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Tuck essays, as the time ticks away

September 16, 2008

I am yet to get in touch with someone from Tuck. The TUCK Connections is still waiting for the fall to begin. I hope it begins soon !!

Update on 21st Sept : Tuck Connections is live !

I really like Tuck’s essays. Though not finalised yet, it wasn’t so tough to answer them. Also, there’s only a recommended word limit of 500 words. Not sure if I can extend one of my essay to upto 800 words.

Essay 1: Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?

Wonderful! Don’t come here if you just want to do an MBA for the heck of it. It should be critical for your career. Mine’s just a step away from the ICU. So answering this comes easily. Is Tuck the best MBA program for you? If yes, you’d know how to answer why. If not, you can insert the usual cliches. The good thing about Tuck is you can’t just have it on your list as just another school. Never make that mistake, as it’d be easy to spot in these essays.

Essay 2: Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?

Now isn’t 500 a little less for a question of so many words itself? The words just keep flowing once I get started with this essay. Its like a SWOT analysis of yourself. If you want to gauge your fit at Tuck then check if your definition of leadership matches with Tuck’s.
Essay 3: Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it? 

I can think of a number of difficult feedbacks, but upon rumination, none of them were constructive. Can I be plain honest and say that, and give instances of these feedbacks and why they weren’t constructive? I mean, they were all meant to be constructive. The people thought they were doing me a big favour in giving me that feedback, but none of them were really positive. Would a constructive albeit negative feedback qualify for a mention in this essay ? What do you think ? I don’t want to make up a story. Do you think plain honesty would be appreciated, or would it instead show a person who doesn’t know the value of a good feedback when he’s given one. One who doesn’t learn from mistakes. I’m certainly not of that kind.

Essay 4: Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

Ok this seems to me a slight variation from a similar one in Kellogg. The Kellogg one asks how your background, values etc. will enhance the experience of other students, whereas Tuck wants to know how such things would be a good fit with Tuck’s culture. So I think the focus has to remain on yourself and the identification with Tuck’s culture, rather than the steps you would take (club memberships, initiatives at school etc.). Let me know if you think I’ve got this wrong?


Half the month is already over. Acceleration is the key word here, without crossing the speed limits!

I still need to get in touch with someone from Tuck and Wharton. Not that I need to be more convinced about these schools, but talking to an insider always helps.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. missionmba permalink
    September 16, 2008 11:48 pm

    Yet another interesting analysis.. 🙂
    For Q3, Remember it’s constructive “criticism”. So it surely can have shades of negativity in it, as long as you can show that you were able to build upon that and never gave your boss to point out the same thing again.. Also show how that affected u in the long term..

    If you’ve a good list of “difficult feedbacks”, I’d suggest pick something that happenned 2-3 years back and for which, you do have follow-up successful stories. Choosing sth recent may not give yyou a chance to show that you’vce learnt..

    BTW< remember Tuck places a lot of emphasis on how u handle criticism.. This is reinforced by the fact that they’ve a similar Q for ur recommendors too..

  2. saahil permalink
    September 18, 2008 2:25 am

    hi!i put in 4 words on google-tuck essay criticism feedback-n was guided to ur blog. red thru t. n t seemed twas me talking. word by from india-abroad-timing-al d constraints in goin abroad-selection of colleges-living wth d colleges in ur thots seemed so familiar.

    cant boast of a profile as good as yours.score-720/3.5yrs of mortgages work ex.applying to tuck,duke & chicago(i kno ths ones a long shot!!) in R1.uve a stupendous profile i think!!

    was having some dificulties wth d feedback essay. not reali sure wat wud qualify as a feedback thts worth mentioning in an app. wud a yearly appraisal feedback do?

    ur comment on d last essay-i think id differ on this. i have not hired any consultant. doin t al myself. gathering watever i can from blogs/essay sites etc etc. its repetdly sed evrywhere that u need to show d school tht u ve researchd abt thm n r serious abt d school. imo this is a perfect essay to show em d same.ofcourse d stress has to b on Urself,ur experiences. but i thnk a few lines tellin em specifically how u wud ‘contribute’ to d community(clubs/activities etc) at tuck wudnt harm. it serves a dual purpose of highliting U n d fact tht uve spent time on this college n its not just another ‘also ran’ in d list.

  3. ahembeea permalink*
    September 18, 2008 7:19 am

    Mission – I take your point.

    Saahil – yes a few lines like that wouldnt do any harm. Thx for the suggestion, and atb for your apps !

  4. chandu permalink
    September 26, 2008 5:01 pm


    I have seen your ISB essay analysis earlier and just went through this as well.
    Would say– impressive..

    For the third essay, I think I have a view that differs from both yours and Saahil’s. (Slightly closer at Saahil’s in content but not in approach).

    I felt it should be what are you as a person and what do you bring to the “Tuck’s culture”.
    It should be on whatever you would take with you to Tuck..
    what you would do in Tuck ( and why that comes naturally to you.. ) How will this influence the rest of students and what kind of impact will it create on the culture.

    Does that make sense ?? Or Am I going tangential ??


  5. ahembeea permalink*
    September 27, 2008 9:02 am

    Chandu – I get what you’re saying. Am working on this essay right now, will tell you how it develops.

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